The Tree Peony is a beautiful shrub that offers a stunning display of large flowers, making it a popular ornamental plant in the garden. If you want to bring some color to your home or apartment, is it possible to grow the Tree Peony in a container?
A Tree Peony is an ideal shrub to grow in a container to provide beauty and elegance to a patio, deck, or driveway. The plants prefer hot summers and cold winters and should be grown in containers at least 12 inches deep, with a diameter equal to the depth of the container.
Tree Peonies have been popular as ornamental plants in the garden because of their impressive flower display. These shrubs grow well in containers if given enough space, the right soil, and growing conditions. Follow our guide to growing spectacular Tree Peonies in containers for your home!
Can A Tree Peony Be Grown In A Container?
Tree Peonies, or Paeonia suffruticosa, originated in China, where they are popular for their beauty and their medicinal and cultural value.
In the western world, the Tree Peony is favored mainly for the beauty of the flowers produced, which can be as large as your hand in some varieties.
The Tree Peony is a very forgiving plant to grow in a container, and because of its hardiness, it can be grown in full sun or partial shade. There are some growing conditions in which the plant does not do well, and we will discuss these when we talk about how to take care of your Tree Peony.
The type and size of the container selected to grow a Tree Peony are important because it is a fairly large shrub that needs some space in the growing container.
Do You Need Large Containers To Grow Tree Peony?
Tree Peony plants can grow quite large; they can reach between 3 and 5 feet tall (1m to 1.5m) and spread out to a width of between 3 and 4 feet (1m to 1.2m).
The relatively large size of the plant, along with the space required for the root system, demands a larger container for growing the Tree Peony. A small container will cause the shrub to become top heavy with a tendency to topple over in a strong breeze or if bumped.
The ideal size container for growing a Tree Peony is one that is at least 12 inches (30cm) deep but preferably 18 inches (46cm).
The growing container should have a diameter of at least 12 inches (30cm), but the best option is to choose a container with a diameter the same as the depth of the container. This specification gives the tubers space to grow and provides the adult plant with stability in the container.
The container must offer good drainage in the form of holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging the Peony tubers.
What Soil Does Tree Peony Need In A Container?
Tree Peony shrubs do not like soil that is too acidic and grow best where the soil pH is between 6.8 and 7.5, which is slightly on the alkaline side.
The soil must be well-drained and rich in organic material. A potting mix that contains a topsoil content of at least 50% with 25% perlite and 25% organic material makes an ideal growing medium for the Tree Peony.
Do not use a growing medium containing peat since adding peat creates a more acidic environment, which the Peonies do not enjoy.
How Long Do Tree Peony Live in Containers?
Tree Peony has a woody stem, which is where they get their name. The sturdy woody stem allows these plants to come back year after year and reward you with a beautiful flower display.
Not only are the large flowers attractive, but the leaves of the Tree Peony are also eye-catching, making the shrub beautiful with or without flowers. The perennial nature of the plant means you can enjoy the leaves and flowers for many years.
Although a Tree Peony planted in a container requires a little more care than when planted directly in the ground, it does not necessarily affect its lifespan. In-ground Tree Peonies can live between 50 and 80 years, and with the correct care, a container-grown plant can survive for the same duration.
How To Care For A Tree Peony In A Container
Tree Peonies are usually sold as tubers, and you should plant the tubers 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5cm) deep with the eyes of the tubers pointing up towards the soil surface.
Do not plant the tubers too deep, as this can inhibit the plant’s flowering, and you will be disappointed with the display.
Watering Tree Peony In Containers
The Tree Peony likes an evenly moist growing medium, but it must not be overwatered to the point of being boggy. This will cause the tubers to rot, and the plant will die. Water the plant if the soil’s top 3 inches (8cm) feels dry.
Feeding Tree Peony In A Container
The Tree Peony does not require a lot of feeding to maintain the plant. It is best to fertilize in early spring with manure-rich compost or normal compost with the addition of a sprinkling of blood and bone mix.
This fertilization is usually enough to sustain the plant throughout the growing season. Do not give any nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the growing season as this will promote rich leaf growth but inhibit the development of flowers.
Growing Environment For Tree Peonies in Containers
The best growing environment for Tree Peonies is warm summers and cold winters. The cold winters stimulate better flower production in the summer.
If the temperatures become too hot, you will notice the Tree Peony will start to wilt. This is an indication that the temperature is too hot for the plant. Move it into a semi-shaded position and ensure the soil is still moist, and the plant should recover.
If you live in locations with extremely cold winters, you may need to bring the plant indoors during the worst part of your winter since the tubers in a container will be more susceptible to damage from extreme winter cold than in-ground plants.
If you bring the plants indoors in the winter, they should still be kept in a cold location, such as a garage, so the tuber is exposed to the cold to stimulate flowering in the next season.
The Tree Peony should not be positioned where it will be subjected to strong winds, as the wind can blow the petals off the flowers and cause the flowers to drop prematurely.
Should You Prune Your Container-Grown Tree Peony?
It is not a necessity for the health of the plant to prune your Tree Peony, but you may want to prune the plant to keep it to a more manageable size in the space where it is located.
Pruning should be performed to remove any dead growth and branches, improving the shrub’s overall look. If you prune the plant, it should be done in early spring instead of the fall. The growth left on the plant above the ground for winter helps to protect the rootstock below the soil from the cold conditions.
When Do Tree Peony Bloom When Grown In Containers?
If you have planted young Tree Peonies, you may wait some time to enjoy the beautiful blooms. It can take as long as up to 3 years for the shrubs to bloom for the first time.
For this reason, many of the Tree Peony plants sold by plant nurseries are grafted onto older rootstock to stimulate flowering sooner.
The flowering time of the Tree Peony depends on the variety. Some bloom in early spring, while others begin to flower from mid to late spring. To continuously display the flowers throughout summer, plant a selection of Tree Pony plants that bloom at different times in separate containers.
If you love beautiful plants, the foliage and floral display of the Tree Peony is hard to beat. These plants make superb container plants that decorate your space with spectacular blooms.
Plant a selection of Tree Peony plants that flower at different times to enjoy their color for a longer duration of the growing season. Do not over-feed or over-water the plants; keep them in sunny to semi-shaded areas, sheltered from strong winds.